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Cropper Writers Series

10 year anniversary logoIn 2014 the Department of English celebrated the 10th Year Anniversary of The Lindsay J. Cropper Memorial Writers series, inaugurated in the Fall of 2004. The Series has evolved in a short time into one of San Diego’s premier literary events. San Diego Union-Tribune story on Lindsay J. Cropper and the Cropper Writers Series.

2014/2015 Cropper Creative Writing Contest

Cropper Creative Writing Contest in Poetry, Fiction, & Nonfiction. Cash Prizes $125 each. Deadline to submit is Sunday, March 8, 2015, 11:59 p.m.

2014/2015 Writers Series


Thursday, September 18, 2014
12:30pm, free and open to the public
Mother Rosalie Hill Hall (MRH), Room 102 ("SOLES")

Sarah Bynum headshotSARAH SHUN-LIEN BYNUM
Sarah Shun-lien Bynum is the author of two novels, Ms. Hempel Chronicles, a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award, and Madeleine Is Sleeping, a finalist for the 2004 National Book Award and winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize. Her fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including the New Yorker, Ploughshares, Tin House, the Georgia Review, and the Best American Short Stories. The recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and an NEA Fellowship, she was named one of “20 Under 40” fiction writers by The New Yorker. She lives in Los Angeles and teaches in the Graduate Writing Program at Otis College of Art and Design.


The Lindsay J. Cropper Memorial Writers Series: SARAH SHUN-LIEN BYNUM

Friday, September 19, 2014
7:00pm, free and open to the public
Manchester Conference Center Auditorium
Dessert Reception and Book Signing to follow

Sarah Bynum headshotSARAH SHUN-LIEN BYNUM
Sarah Shun-lien Bynum is the author of two novels, Ms. Hempel Chronicles, a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award, and Madeleine Is Sleeping, a finalist for the 2004 National Book Award and winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize. Her fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including the New Yorker, Ploughshares, Tin House, the Georgia Review, and the Best American Short Stories. The recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and an NEA Fellowship, she was named one of “20 Under 40” fiction writers by The New Yorker. She lives in Los Angeles and teaches in the Graduate Writing Program at Otis College of Art and Design.
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The Lindsay J. Cropper Memorial Writers Series: ROSS GAY

Friday, November 7, 2014
7:00pm, free and open to the public
Manchester Conference Center Auditorium
Dessert Reception and Book Signing to follow

Ross Gay headshotROSS GAY
Ross Gay was born in Youngstown, Ohio, and grew up just outside of Philadelphia. He is the author of two books of poems, Bringing the Shovel Down (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011) and Against Which (CavanKerry Press, 2006). His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Gulf Coast, and Massachusetts Review, and his essay on race in America, "Some Thoughts On Mercy," was published in The Sun in 2013. A Cave Canem fellow, he holds an MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence University and a Ph.D. in American Literature from Temple University. He teaches in the M.F.A. program at Indiana University in Bloomington and in Drew University’s Low-Residency M.F.A. program. He is also a founding member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a publicly owned, volunteer-run, free-fruit-for-all, organic orchard, where he serves as the co-chair of the education team. He teaches or co-teaches ten classes a year on various aspects of orcharding, from pruning to propagation. He's also a painter, a former basketball coach, and an occasional demolition man.
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The Lindsay J. Cropper Memorial Writers Series: EULA BISS

Saturday, March 14, 2015
7:00pm, free and open to the public
Warren Auditorium, Mother Rosalie Hill Hall
Dessert Reception and Book Signing to follow

Eula Biss headshotEULA BISS
Eula Biss is the author of three books of nonfiction, On Immunity: An Inoculation (Graywolf 2014), Notes from No Man's Land: American Essays (Graywolf 2009), and The Balloonists (Hanging Loose 2002). She holds a B.A. in nonfiction writing from Hampshire College and a M.F.A. in nonfiction writing from the University of Iowa. Her work is currently supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Howard Foundation Fellowship and has been recognized by a Jaffe Writers' Award, a 21st Century Award from the Chicago Public Library, a Pushcart Prize, and a National Book Critics Circle Award. Her essays have recently appeared in The Best American Nonrequired Reading, The Best Creative Nonfiction, and the Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Nonfiction, as well as in The Believer, Gulf Coast, Columbia, Ninth Letter, The North American Review, The Iowa Review, The Seneca Review, and Harper's. She teaches at Northwestern University.
(NOTE: change of date -- this was previously scheduled for Friday, March 13th, but will now be held on Saturday, March 14th.)

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The Cropper center for Creative Writing: Senior Reading

Thursday, May 7, 2015
7:00pm, free and open to the public. Friends & Family welcome!
Mother Rosalie Hill Hall (MRH), Room 102 ("SOLES")

SENIORS graduating from the English major Creative Writing Emphasis will read from their own works, and winners of the Lindsay J. Cropper Undergraduate Contest in Creative Writing (fiction, nonfiction, and poetry) will be announced! The English Department's Creative Writing Emphasis (fiction, nonfiction, and poetry) is comprised of four rigorous, upper-division creative writing courses in which students practice the dedication and commitment required of the serious writer. These courses hone critical reading, creative thinking, and writing and communication skills. Such skills are not only essential to the budding writer, of course, but also are highly valued in all professional fields and are integral to the creation of a well-rounded graduate of a liberal arts college. For more information about the creative writing emphasis please go


Past Writers include: 

Meena Alexander
Jodi Angel
Rae Armantrout
Jericho Brown
Ron Carlson
John J. Clayton
Adam O. Davis
Amber Dermont

Chitra Divakaruni
Ben Doller
Mark Doty
Halina Duraj
Percival Everett

Jerry Farber
Katie Farris
Piotr Florczyk
Lynn Freed
Linda Gregerson
Gary Jackson
Ilya Kaminsky
David Kirby
Dorianne Laux

Chang-rae Lee
Esther Lee
Li-Young Lee
Paul Lisicky

Bharati Mukherjee
David Mullins
Fae Myenne Ng
Deniz Perin
Paisley Radal
Claudia Rankine
Danzy Senna
Mark Strand
James Tate
Natasha Trethewey
Jean Valentine
Kevin Young
Andrew Zawacki


2013/2014 Writers Series


Thursday, September 19, 2013
Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice (KIPJ), Conference Room D

The Lindsay J. Cropper Memorial Writers Series: linda gregerson

Friday, September 20, 2013
Manchester Conference Center Auditorium

head shot of Linda GregersonLINDA GREGERSON
Linda Gregerson is the author of several collections of poetry and literary criticism. A Renaissance scholar, a classically trained actor, and a devotee of the sciences, Gregerson produces lyrical poems informed by her expansive reading that are inquisitive, unflinching, and tender. Gregerson's collection Magnetic Northwas a National Book Award finalist, and Waterborne (2002) won the Kingsley Tufts Award.Gregerson’s other awards include the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, the Consuelo Ford Award from the Poetry Society of America, three Pushcart Prizes, and the Levinson Prize from Poetry magazine. She has also received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, the Institute for Advanced Study, the National Humanities Center, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Gregerson holds degrees from Oberlin College, Northwestern University, the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and Stanford University. She has taught at the University of Michigan and the Warren Wilson low-residency MFA program. View Linda Gregerson video recording. Also, watch this Linda Gregerson video recording on iTunes (free).
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The Lindsay J. Cropper Memorial Writers Series: Fae myenne ng

Friday, November 1, 2013
Manchester Conference Center Auditorium

head shot of Fae Myenne NgFAE MYENNE NG
Fae Myenne Ng’s work has received support from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, Rome Prize, the Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award, the NEA, the Lannan Foundation, and The Radcliffe Institute and the Guggenheim Foundation. She had held residencies at Yaddo, McDowell, and the Djerassi Foundation. Her first novel, Bone, was a finalist for the 1994 PEN/Faulkner Fiction Award. Steer Toward Rock,was awarded a 2008 American Book Award. In 2012, she was awarded a fellowship to Bellagio to work on her new book.
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The Lindsay J. Cropper Memorial Writers Series: Esther lee & gary jackson

Friday, February 21, 2014
Manchester Conference Center Auditorium

head shot of Esther LeeESTHER LEE
Esther Lee is the author of Spit, winner of the Elixir Press Poetry Prize, and her chapbook, The Blank Missives. Her poems and articles have appeared in Ploughshares, Verse Daily, Hyphen, and elsewhere. A Kundiman fellow, she has a Ph.D. in Creative Writing/Literature from the University of Utah. She is an assistant professor of creative writing at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia.
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head shot of Gary JacksonGARY JACKSON
Born and raised in Topeka, Kansas, Gary Jackson is the author of the poetry collection Missing You, Metropolis, which received the 2009 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. His poems have appeared in Callaloo, Tin House, The Laurel Review, The Normal School, Tuesday, and elsewhere. He’s also published in Shattered: The Asian-American Comics Anthology, and is the recipient of both a Cave Canem and Bread Loaf fellowship. Jackson currently teaches as an Assistant Professor at the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC and at the low-residency MFA program at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. He has been a fierce lover of comics for over twenty years.
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10 year anniversary of Cropper logoTHE 10th Anniversary The Lindsay J. Cropper Memorial Writers Series: Maxine Hong Kingston

Friday, April 4, 2014
Kroc Institute of Peace & Justice (KIPJ) Theatre

head shot of Maxine Hong KingstonMAXINE HONG KINGSTON
Maxine Hong Kingston is Senior Lecturer for Creative Writing at the University of California, Berkeley. For her memoirs and fiction, The Fifth Book of Peace, The Woman Warrior, China Men, Tripmaster Monkey, I Love a Broad Margin to My Life, and Hawai’i One Summer, she has earned numerous awards, among them the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, the PEN West Award for Fiction, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, and a National Humanities Medal from the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as the title of “Living Treasure of Hawai’i.”
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2012/2013 Writers Series


Thursday, September 20, 2012
Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice (KIPJ), Conference Room H/I

The Lindsay J. Cropper Memorial Writers Series: AMBER DERMONT & ADAM O. DAVIS

Friday, September 21, 2012
Mother Rosalie Hill Hall (MRH), Warren Auditorium (SOLES)

Amber Dermont photoAMBER DERMONT
Amber Dermont is the author of The New York Times best-selling novel, The Starboard Sea. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Amber received her PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston. Her honors include a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Fellowship from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and a Donald Barthelme Memorial Fellowship. She currently serves as the Charles Loridans Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia. Her short story collection, Damage Control, is forthcoming from St. Martin's Press. View Amber Dermont Creative Writing Lecture (9/20/12) video recording. View Amber Dermont reading (9/21/12) video recording. Also watch this Amber Dermont video recording on iTunes (free).
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Adam Davis photoADAM O. DAVIS, POET
Adam O. Davis earned his MFA from Columbia University, where he was the recipient of the William Brock-Broido Fellowship, and his BA from the University of California, Riverside, where he served as poet laureate. His work has appeared in many journals, including Boston Review, CutBank, The Laurel Review, Bat City Review, Raritan, The Southern Review, and The Paris Review. A survivor of the New York publishing industry, he has taught English literature and creative writing at a number of schools and colleges. View Adam O. Davis video recording of this event. Also watch this Adam O. Davis video recording on iTunes (free).
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The Lindsay J. Cropper Memorial Writers Series: KEVIN YOUNG

Friday, November 2, 2012
Manchester Conference Center Auditorium

Kevin Young photoKEVIN YOUNG, POET
Born in 1970, Kevin Young is widely regarded as one of the leading poets of his generation, one who finds meaning and inspiration in African American music, particularly the blues, and in the bittersweet history of Black America. His many books of poetry include Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels (Knopf, 2011); Dear Darkness (Knopf, 2008); and For the Confederate Dead(2007). Black Maria: Poems Produced and Directed by Kevin Young is a "film noir in verse," a playful homage to the language and imagery of Hollywood detective films. Young was a 1993 National Poetry Series winner for Most Way Home, which also received the John C. Zacharis First Book Award of Ploughshares magazine. Other collections include To Repel Ghosts: Five Sides in B Minor (2001), a poetic tribute to painter and graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, and a finalist for the James Laughlin Award of the Academy of American Poets; and Jelly Roll: A Blues(2003), a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award. Young is also the author of a non-fiction book, The Grey Album(Graywolf, 2012), winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize. The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief and Healing, 150 devastatingly beautiful contemporary elegies that embrace the pain, heartbreak, and healing stages of mourning, selected and introduced by Kevin Young, was released in 2010. Young's poetry and essays have appeared in the New Yorker, New York Times Book Review, Paris Review, Kenyon Review, and Callaloo. His awards include a Stegner Fellowship in Poetry at Stanford University, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship. He is currently Atticus Haygood Professor of Creative Writing and English and curator of Literary Collections and the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library at Emory University. View Kevin Young video recording. Also watch this Kevin Young video recording on iTunes (free).
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The Lindsay J. Cropper Memorial Writers Series: LYNN FREED & BEN DOLLER

Friday, March 15, 2013
Manchester Conference Center Auditorium

Lynn Freed was born and grew up in Durban, South Africa. She came to New York as a graduate student, receiving her M.A. and Ph.D. in English Literature from Columbia University. Ms. Freed is the author of six novels, a collection of short stories, and a collection of essays. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Atlantic Monthly, and other publications. It is widely translated, and is included in a number of anthologies. In 2011 Ms. Freed won a PEN/O. Henry Award for the short story, “Sunshine”, which is included in the PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories 2011. Prior to that, she had stories listed both in BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES and THE PEN/O.HENRY PRIZE SHORT STORY collections. She has won the Bay Area Book Reviewers’ Award for Fiction (HOMEGROUND), and has subsequently had four books nominated for the same award. Most of her books have appeared on The New York Times “Notable Books of the Year” list as well as on its “New & Noteworthy Paperback” list. In 2002, Ms. Freed was awarded the inaugural Katherine Anne Porter Award by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She has received grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and The Guggenheim Foundation and has been awarded residency fellowships supported by The Rockefeller Foundation, The Camargo Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Bogliasco Foundation, Civitella Ranieri, the Corporation of Yaddo, and the MacDowell Colony, and others. Ms. Freed is Professor of English at the University of California in Davis. View Lynn Freed video recording. Also watch this Lynn Freed video recording on iTunes (free).
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Ben Doller photoBEN DOLLER, POET
In 1973, Ben Doller (previously Doyle) was born in Warsaw, New York. He completed his undergraduate education at the State University of New York at Oswego and West Virginia University. His first collection of poetry, Radio, Radio, (Louisiana State University Press, 2001) was selected by Susan Howe for the 2000 Walt Whitman Award. He received his MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where he was awarded a Teaching-Writing Fellowship. His second collection of poems, FAQ, was published in 2009 by Ahsahta Press. His third collection, Dead Ahead, was published by Fence Books in 2010. Doller has taught at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, West Virginia University, Denison University, and was Distinguished Visiting Professor at Boise State University in 2007. He is co-editor of the Kuhl House Contemporary Poetry Series at the University of Iowa Press, and is vice editor and designer of 1913 a journal of forms and 1913 Press. He lives in San Diego with his wife, the poet Sandra Doller (formerly Miller). View Ben Doller video recording. Also watch this Ben Doller video recording on iTunes (free).
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2011/2012 Writers Series

Jerry Farber is an Emeritus Professor of English and Comparative Literature at San Diego State University, and currently teaches as a lecturer at SDSU and at the University of San Diego. His books include "A Field Guide to the Aesthetic Experience." He has published scholarly articles on aesthetics, humor theory, reader response theory and teaching. Among his current projects are an article on Marcel Proust and another on teaching poetry. Watch on iTunes U.
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Ron Carlson is the author of ten books of fiction, including his novel The Signal (Penguin 2009) and the short story collection A Kind of Flying (W.W. Norton 2003).  His short stories have appeared in Esquire, Harper's, The New Yorker, GQ, and other journals, as well as The Best American Short Stories, The O'Henry Prize Series, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction and dozens of other anthologies.  Carlson directed the Creative Writing program at Arizona State University for many years but is now the Creative Writing program director at the University of California at Irvine.  Among his awards is a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction.  The Signal is the action-packed tale of a divorced couple who go backpacking in the Wind River Mountains and run into all sorts of trouble, including some unfriendly meth-runners who poach elk on the side. Watch on iTunes U.
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Born in Kingston, Jamaica and educated at Williams College and Columbia University, Claudia Rankine is the author of four collections of poetry, including the award-winning Nothing in Nature is Private.  In The End of the Alphabet and Plot, she welds the cerebral and the spiritual, the sensual and the grotesque.  Her latest book, Don't Let Me Be Lonely—an experimental multi-genre project that blends poetry, essays, and image—is a deeply personal exploration of the condition of fragmented selfhood in contemporary America.  Rankine co-edited the anthology American Women Poets in the 21st Century: Where Lyric Meets Language, and her work is included in several anthologies, including Great American Prose Poems: From Poe to the Present, Best American Poetry 2001, Giant Step: African American Writing at the Crossroads of the Century, and The Garden Thrives: Twentieth Century African-American Poetry. Her work has been published in numerous journals including Boston Review and TriQuarterly.  She lives and teaches in California.
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Halina Duraj joined USD after receiving her Ph.D. in English and creative writing from the University of Utah in 2010. She also holds a B.S. in biological sciences and an M.A. in creative writing from the University of California, Davis. Her fiction and non-fiction have appeared in literary journals including Witness, Third Coast, and Confrontation. Her novel, Fatherland, was a finalist for the 2010 UC Davis Maurice Prize in Fiction, and other work has been recommended for the 2009 PEN/O’Henry Award and the Pushcart Prize. Her teaching interests focus on fiction writing, the literature of war and trauma, and the intersection of literature, science, and nature. She is currently working on a collection of short stories. Watch on iTunes U.
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Ilya Kaminsky was born in Odessa, former Soviet Union in 1977, and arrived to the United States in 1993, when his family was granted asylum by the American government. Kaminsky is the author of Dancing In Odessa (Tupelo Press, 2004), which won the Whiting Writer's Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Metcalf Award, the Dorset Prize, and the Ruth Lilly Fellowship given annually by Poetry magazine. Dancing In Odessa was also named Best Poetry Book of the Year 2004 by ForeWord Magazine. In 2008, Kaminsky was awarded Lannan Foundation's Literary Fellowship. In 2009, poems from his new manuscript, Deaf Republic, were awarded Poetry magazine's Levinson Prize. His anthology of 20th century poetry in translation, Ecco Anthology of International Poetry, was published by Harper Collins in 2010. Currently, he teaches Contemporary World Poetry, Creative Writing, and Literary Translation in the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing at San Diego State University. He lives in San Diego, California with his beautiful wife, Katie Farris. Watch on iTunes U.
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Jodi Angel’s first collection of short stories, The History of Vegas, was published in 2005 by Chronicle Books.  The collection was named as a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2005 as well as a LA Times Book Review Discovery.  Her short story “Portions” was selected for Special Mention for the 2007 Pushcart Prize and has also been adapted into an independent short film.  Her work has appeared in Zoetrope: All-Story and Sycamore Review, among other publications.  She currently teaches literature and fiction writing at UC Davis and Sacramento City College.  Of Angel’s collection,  Melanie Thorne says, “Her honesty lacks a self-pity that could make some of these stories seem melodramatic; the tone is just right. These are observational, strong voiced narrators simply sharing their stories of abandonment and hopeless futures and revealing their lives in lonely apartments.” Watch on iTunes U.
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Rae Armantrout is a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet who grew up in San Diego.  She has published ten books of poetry and currently teaches at the University of California, San Diego, where she is Professor of Poetry and Poetics.  In 2010, Armantrout was awarded the 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award.  Armantrout’s most recent collection, Money Shot, was published in February 2011.  She is the recipient of numerous other awards for her poetry, including a Guggenheim Fellowship.  Armantrout is also one of the founding members of the West Coast group of Language poets but stands apart from other Language poets in her lyrical voice and her commitment to the interior and the domestic.  Her short-lined poems are often concerned with dismantling conventions of memory, pop culture, science, and mothering, and these unsparing interrogations are often streaked with wit.
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Katie Farris’s poetry, fictions, and translations have appeared in various journals, including Verse, Washington Square, Hayden’s Ferry Review, New Orleans Review, and others. She holds MFA from Brown University and currently teaches Comparative Literature and Creative Writing at San Diego State University.  Of Farris’s first book BOYSGIRLS, Joanna Scott says, “"These kaleidoscopic fictions have an astonishing delicacy. They spark and cascade and then burst again, changing shape and settling into surprising, entrancing patterns.”
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2010/2011 Writers Series

kirbyDavid Kirby is the Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of English at Florida State University (FSU).  His new and selected poetry collection, The House on Boulevard St. (Louisiana State University Press), was nominated for the 2007 National Book Award in poetry.  Kirby has published over 20 books, including collections of poetry, and literary criticism.  His volume, The Ha-Ha was chosen one of ten "Best Books of 2003" by Boston Globe critic Clea Simon and was short listed for the Griffin Poetry Prize.  His work has won numerous awards, including four Pushcart Prizes, the James Dickey Prize, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Watch on iTunes U.
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florczykPiotr Florczyk is an American poet and a translator from his native Polish. With Been and Gone (Marick Press, 2009), he introduced the English-speaking audience to Julian Kornhauser (1946-), one of the foremost Polish poets of the Generation of ‘68. He is also the translator of a collection of poems by Anna Swir (1909-84), Building the Barricade and Other Poems (Calypso Editions, 2011). He is the recipient of the 2007 Anna Akhmatova Fellowship for Younger Translators, holds an MFA from San Diego State University, and has taught at the University of Delaware. Florczyk’s work has appeared in Slate, Boston Review, Pleiades, Notre Dame Review,The Southern Review,World Literature Today, Chelsea, Poetry International, and a variety of other journals. Watch on iTunes U.
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David MullensDavid Philip Mullins is the author of Greetings from Below, a collection of short stories. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His work has appeared in The Yale Review, The Massachusett Review, Fiction, New England Review, Folio, Cimarron Review, Gulf Coast, and Ecotone. Greetings from Below won both the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction and the international Walter Scott Prize for Short Stories, and was a finalist for both the Katherine BakelessNason Fiction Prize and the Hudson Prize. Stories in the book have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize; have received special mention in Best of the West, New Stories from the West Side of the Missouri; have been a finalist for the Indian Review Fiction Prize; and have won third prize in the Playboy College Fiction Contest. In 2005 David held the Dorothy and Granville Hicks Residency in Literature at Yaddo, and in 2008 he was the recipient of the Stanley Elkin Scholarship from the Sewanee Writers' Conference. He has taught at the University of Iowa and the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and is currently an assistant professor of creative writing at Creighton University. Watch on iTunes U.
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Deniz PerinDeniz Perin received an MFA in Poetry from SDSU in 2007. Her work and translations have appeared in various national and international literary journals, including Poetry International, Atlanta Review, The New Review of Literature, Words Without Borders, Transcript, and many others. She will be a Lannan Foundation fellow in June and July 2011, and is a recipient of the Anna Akhmatova Fellowship for Younger Translators. Her translations of poet Nazim Hikmet’s work are anthologized in the Ecco Anthology of International Poetry and in Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East. Book of the Edge, her translation from the Turkish of Ece Temelkuran’s poetry collection, was released in July 2010 by BOA Editions, as part of the Lannan Translations Selection Series. It has since been listed in the Montserrat Review's Best Books for Summer Reading 2010, as well as in the July/August 2010 issue of Poets & Writers' "Page One: Where New And Noteworthy Books Begin." It was also featured in TimeOut Istanbul’s “ A Literary Year at a Glance” as “one of the very best new releases” of 2010. Watch on iTunes U.
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Paisley Rekdal PAISLEY RADAL
Paisley Rekdal is the author of a book of essays, The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee(Pantheon, October 2000 and Vintage Books, April 2002), and three books of poetry, A Crash of Rhinos(University of Georgia Press, October 2000), Six Girls Without Pants(Eastern Washington University Press, November 2002) and The Invention of the Kaleidoscope(University of Pittsburgh Press/Pitt Poetry Series, April 2007).Intimate, a hybrid photo-text memoir that combines poems, nonfiction, and fiction with photography, is forthcoming from Tupelo Press in 2011. Her work has received a Village Voice Writers on the Verge Award, an NEA Fellowship, the University of Georgia Press' Contemporary Poetry Series Award, a Fulbright Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, and the Laurence Goldstein Poetry Prize from Michigan Quarterly Review. Her poems and essays have appeared in or are forthcoming from The New York Times Magazine, NPR, Nerve, Ploughshares, Poetry, Tin House, Michigan Quarterly Review, Denver Quarterly, Black Warrior Review, New England Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Kenyon Review, and American Poetry Review, among others.
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Mark Doty'sFire to Fire: New and Selected Poems, won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2008. His eight books of poems includeSchool of the Arts,Source,andMy Alexandria. He has also published four volumes of nonfiction prose:Still Life with Oysters and Lemon,Heaven's Coast,FirebirdandDog Years,which was a New York Times bestseller in 2007. Doty’s poems have appeared in many magazines includingThe Atlantic Monthly,The London Review of Books,Ploughshares,Poetry, andThe New Yorker. Widelyanthologized, his poems appear inThe Norton Anthology of Contemporary American Poetryand many other collections. Doty's work has been honored by the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Whiting Writers Award, two Lambda Literary Awardsand the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction.He is the only American poet to have received the T.S. Eliot Prize in the U.K., and has receivedfellowships from the Guggenheim, Ingram Merrill and Lila Wallace/Readers Digest Foundations, and from the National Endowment for the Arts. Doty lives in New York City and on the east end of Long Island. In the fall of 2009, he joined the faculty at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
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2009/2010 Writers Series

Bharati Mukherjee is the author of The Middleman and Other Stories, which won the 1988 National Book Critics Circle Award. After receiving a B.A. from the University of Calcutta and an M.A. in English and Ancient Indian Culture from the University of Baroda, Mukherjee moved to the United States where she received an M.F.A. and Ph.D. in comparative literature at the University of Iowa. She is also a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Mukherjee is a Distinguished Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley and a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Award. Mukherjee is the author of numerous works, both fiction and nonfiction, including Jasmine, The Holder of the World, Leave It to Me, and, more recently, Desirable Daughters and The Tree Bride.
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Paul Lisicky is the author of Lawnboy and Famous Builder. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he is also the recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the James Michener/Copernicus Society, the Henfield Foundation, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, where he was twice a fellow. His work has appeared in anthologies and journals such as Ploughshares, Short Takes, Open House, Boulevard, Flash Fiction. Lisicky has taught at Cornell University, New York University, Sarah Lawrence College, Antioch University-Los Angeles, The University of Houston, and The Bread Loaf Writers Conference. He currently lives in New York City and is working on his forthcoming novel Lumina Harbor.
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2008/2009 Writers Series

"For me, Jean Valentine's poems, like dam walls, seem to have been shaped by the enormous, unseen pressure of what lies behind them.” —Lynn Emanuel

Jean Valentine is the current state poet of New York (2008–2010). She won the Yale Younger Poets Award for her first book, Dream Barker, in 1965. Her tenth and most recent book of poetry is Little Boat (Wesleyan, 2007). Her previous collection, Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems 1965–2003, was the winner of the 2004 National Book Award for Poetry.

Valentine has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and awards from the NEA, The Bunting Institute, The Rockefeller Foundation, The New York Council for the Arts, and The New York Foundation for the Arts, as well as the Maurice English Prize, the Teasdale Poetry Prize, and The Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Prize, and the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, the Graduate Writing Program of New York University, Columbia University, and the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan, among many other places.
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“To read Jericho Brown’s poems is to encounter devastating genius.” —Claudia Rankine

Jericho Brown worked as speechwriter for the Mayor of New Orleans before receiving his Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Houston. He also holds an M.F.A. from the University of New Orleans and a B.A. from Dillard University, and he has served as poetry editor at Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts. His poems have appeared in Callaloo, The Iowa Review, jubilat, New England Review, and Prairie Schooner. The recipient of a Cave Canem Fellowship, two scholarships to the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, and two travel fellowships to the Krakow Poetry Seminar in Poland, Brown is currently an Assistant Professor of English at the University of San Diego where he teaches creative writing. His first book is Please (New Issues, 2008). Watch on iTunes U.

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“Trethewey is clearly a poet to savor.” —Maxine Kumin

Natasha Trethewey is author of Native Guard (Houghton Mifflin 2006), for which she won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize, Bellocq’s Ophelia (Graywolf, 2002) which was named a Notable Book for 2003 by the American Library Association, and Domestic Work (Graywolf, 2000). She is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Study Center, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. Her poems have appeared in such journals and anthologies as American Poetry Review, Callaloo, Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, New England Review, Gettysburg Review, and The Best American Poetry 2000 and 2003. Currently, she is Phillis Wheatley Distinguished Chair in Poetry at Emory University.

Her first collection of poetry, Domestic Work (2000), was selected by Rita Dove as the winner of the inaugural Cave Canem Poetry Prize for the best first book by an African American poet and won both the 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize and the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry. In her introduction to the book, Dove said, "Trethewey eschews the Polaroid instant, choosing to render the unsuspecting yearnings and tremulous hopes that accompany our most private thoughts—reclaiming for us that interior life where the true self flourishes and to which we return, in solitary reverie, for strength."

Natasha Trethewey's muscular, luminous poems explore the complex memory of the American South history that belongs to all Americans. The sequence forming the spine of her most recent collection follows the Native Guard, one of the first black regiments mustered into service in the Civil War. In Trethewey's hometown of Gulfport, Mississippi, a plaque honors Confederate POWs, but there is no memorial to these vanguard Union soldiers. Native Guard is both a pilgrimage and an elegy, as Trethewey skillfully employs a variety of poetic forms to create a lyrical monument to these forgotten voices. Interwoven are poems honoring Trethewey's mother and recalling her parents interracial marriage, still illegal in 1966 in Mississippi. Native Guard is a haunting, beguiling narrative, caught in the intersections of public and personal testament.
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2007-2008 Writers Series

John Clayton JOHN J. CLAYTON
Clayton, born and raised in New York City and educated at Columbia College and Indiana University, has taught modern literature and fiction writing at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst since 1969. He has also been Visiting Professor at Mt. Holyoke College. His stories have been published in most major periodicals and have won prizes in O.Henry Prize Stories, Best American Short Stories, and Pushcart Prize Stories. His second collection, Radiance, won the Ohio State University award in short fiction and was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award in 1998. His second novel, The Man I Never Wanted to Be, was also published in 1998. An essay about his work appeared in the Fall, 1998 Yale Review.

John J. Clayton's third novel, Kuperman’s Fire, about criminal evil, Jewish heritage, and the miracle of survival, will be published in July, 2007. His new collection, Wrestling with Angels: New and Collected Stories, will appear in fall, 2007. Recent stories have appeared in AGNI on-line and in Missouri Review, Fall, 2005. The on-line story was listed as one of the year’s ten best, and the story in Missouri Review has been chosen for the new Pushcart Prize anthology. Recently, he has also appeared in AGNI, Virginia Quarterly Review, and often in Commentary. A new story will appear in TriQuarterly in January,2008. His work and videotaped interview will appear in the fifth volume of Listening for God.

Clayton’s stories have often been reprinted; he has read them at universities, libraries, and synagogues. In November 2003 he was featured speaker for the Luce Program in Scripture and the Literary Arts at Boston University. “The Man Who Could See Radiance” was read at Symphony Space in New York and has been aired often on NPR since fall, 2001 as part of the Selected Shorts series. It is part of the audio anthology, Getting There From Here: Best of Selected Shorts.
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“Percival's talent is multifaceted, sparked by a satiric brilliance that could place him alongside Wright and Ellison.” — Publisher's Weekly

Percival Everett is the author of fifteen novels, three collections of short fiction, and one volume of poetry. Among his novels are Wounded, Glyph, Erasure, American Desert, For Her Dark Skin, Zulus, The Weather and The Women Treat Me Fair, Cutting Lisa, Walk Me to the Distance, Suder, The One That Got Away, Watershed, God's Country, his short story collection is Big Picture, and his poetry book is re:f (gesture). He is the recipient of the Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, the PEN/Oakland-Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature (for his 1996 story collection Big Picture) and a New American Writing Award (for his 1990 novel Zulus). His stories have been included in the Pushcart Prize Anthology and Best American Short Stories. He has served as a judge for, among others, the 1997 National Book Award for fiction and the PEN/ Faulkner Award for Fiction in 1991. He teaches fiction writing, American Studies and critical theory and he has taught at Bennington College, The University of Wyoming and the University of California at Riverside. He is currently at the University of Southern California.

With these novels and collections of stories to his credit, Everett has developed a reputation as a wordsmith. One critic describes him as a lyrical writer, whose “stark and sometimes powerful prose” leaves a lasting impression. His 1994 book God’s Country drew measured praise from the New York Times: “[The novel] starts sour, then abruptly turns into Cowpoke Absurdism, ending with an acute hallucination of blood, hate and magic. It’s worth the wait. The novel sears.”

Born and raised in Columbia, S.C., Everett spent a childhood “filled with books,” he says. As an undergraduate at the University of Miami, majoring in philosophy and biochemistry, he discovered the writings of early 20th-century analytic philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Wittgenstein held that most philosophical problems were semantic— misunderstandings caused by imprecise language. “I was seduced completely by Wittgenstein,” Everett says. “He still informs my way of thinking. The root for me is matters of language.”

He has worked as a musician, a ranch hand and a high school teacher. In addition to writing Everett is a painter, a woodworker and a flyfisherman. He trains mules on his ranch outside of Los Angeles.

“If part of the mission of the artist is to expand the thinking of the culture in which he exists, I have my work cut out for me.” —Percival Everrett
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“Senna's dynamic storytelling illuminates personal revelations that are anything but black and white.”—Entertainment Weekly

Danzy Senna's debut novel, Caucasia, the story of two bi-racial sisters growing up in racially charged Boston during the 1970's, became an instant national bestseller. It was the winner of the BOMC Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction and of an Alex Award from the American Library Association. It was a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year, one of Glamour's three best books of the year by a new writer, one of School Library Journal's Best Adult Books of the Year for Young Adults, and a finalist for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. It was also a book club selection of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer and the Contra Costa Times. Caucasia examined the politics of race with rare honesty and clarity. The LA Times called Caucasia as compelling as any you are likely to encounter, and a book that explores both the centrality and the lunacy of racial identity in America. It sparked a newfound focus on bi-racial cultures in America, a part of our population that does not fit into any clean category.

Senna's second novel Symptomatic (Riverhead Books), is a psychologically astute novel that continues to examine the complicated topic of race. In Symptomatic, her narrator is a biracial young woman often mistaken for white; she develops a friendship with an older, similarly mixed-race woman that begins as an antidote to loneliness and alienation, but gradually grows into something both complicated and frightening. Symptomatic is a psychological thriller rooted in the very extremes she avoids in Caucasia. Elle Magazine writes, “Symptomatic proves the raves [for Caucasia] were right on target...Senna throws everything into her literary stew–ambition, love, obsession, jealousy, and race.”

In addition to fiction, Senna also writes essays on issues of race, identity, and gender. Senna has also written extensively on the frequent experience of being mistaken for white, and how it’s led to an uncomfortable exposure of prejudices and intolerance in those around her. She lives in LA.
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Andrew Zawacki is an American poet, critic, editor, and translator. His first book By Reason of Breakings won the 2001 University of Georgia Contemporary Poetry Series, chosen by Forrest Gander.[1] Work from his second book, Anabranch, was awarded the 2002 Cecil Hemley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. The volume also includes his 2001 chapbook Masquerade, selected byC.D. Wright to receive the 2002 Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award.[2] He has coedited the international literary magazine Verse with Brian Henry since 1995 and has taught at the University of Georgia since 2005.
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2006/2007 Writers Series

Meena Alexander was born in Allahabad and divided her childhood between India and the Sudan. From her cross-cultural perspective, Alexander writes in, Raw Silk, Triquarterly Books/ Northwestern University Press, with moving intensity of post September 11 events as she evokes violence, and civil strife, love, despair, and a hard-won hope. This autobiographical cycle of poems reflects the surrealism of such a life and is shot through with the frissons of pleasure and pain, of beauty and tension that mark a truly global existence. Meena Alexander is the author of several books of poetry. Illiterate Heart, also from Triquarterly Books, won the 2002 PEN Open Book Award. Her memoir Fault Lines, chosen as a Best Book of 1993 by Publishers Weekly-- was recently reissued by the Feminist Press at The City University of New York, in a post 9/11 edition, with a new chapter entitled "Lyric in a Time of Violence." She lives in New York City where she is Distinguished Professor of English at Hunter College and the Graduate Centerer of the University.
Bio courtesy of
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Mark Strand is a poet, essayist, and translator who was born in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada on April 11, 1934. His early years were spent in North America, while much of his teenage years were spent in South and Central America. He earned his B.A. from Antioch College in 1957. He then studied painting under Josef Albers at Yale University where he earned a B.F.A in 1959. On a Fulbright Scholarship, Strand studied nineteenth-century Italian poetry in Italy during 1960-1961. He attend the Iowa Writers' Workshop the following year and earned an Master of Fine Arts in 1962. In 1965 he spent a year in Brazil as a Fulbright Lecturer. Strand has since taught at many universities and published eleven books of poetry, in addition to translations from the poetry of Rafael Alberti and Carlos Drummond de Andrade, among others. He left his position as Andrew MacLeish Distinguished Service Professor of Social Thought at the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago in 2005, and currently teaches at Columbia University.

In 1981, Strand was elected a member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters. He served as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress during the 1990-1991 term. Strand has received numerous awards including a MacArthur Fellowship in 1987 and the Pulitzer Prize in 1999 for A Blizzard of One.
Bio courtesy of Wikipedia
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2005/2006 Writers Series

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is the bestselling author of the novels Sister of My Heart and The Mistress of Spices; the story collections The Unknown Errors of Our Lives and Arranged Marriage, which received several awards, including the American Book Award; and four collections of prize-winning poetry. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Ms., Zoetrope, Good Housekeeping, O: The Oprah Magazine, The Best American Short Stories 1999, and The New York Times. Born in India, Divakaruni lives near Houston.
Bio courtesy of Anchor Books
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Chang-rae Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea and emigrated to the US in 1968, aged two. He grew up in the New York City area and began his university education at Yale, before moving on to the University of Oregon, where he gained his MFA. His first novel, Native Speaker, was an enormous critical success on both sides of the Atlantic: billboards in Times Square hailed him as the new literary talent, while in London Jason Cowley remarked that Native Speaker was better than all of the books he had read as a Booker judge. Native Speaker won the PEN/Hemingway Award, the American Book Award and the ALA Book of the Year Award.

A Gesture Life grew out of four years work. It originally focused on the experience of a Korean comfort woman, and was told from her perspective. Chang-rae Lee went to Korea to interview surviving comfort women, where some them mentioned ethnic Koreans among the Japanese soldiers. After working for nearly two years on the novel in progress, Chang-rae Lee discarded what he had written, retaining only one character from the first draft—Doc Hata. He currently combines writing with teaching, and he directs the MFA programme in creative writing at the Hunter College of City University, in New York.
Bio courtesy of granta magazine
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2004/2005 Writers Series

Dorianne Laux is the author of three collections of poetry from BOA Editions, Awake (1990), introduced by Philip Levine, What We Carry (1994), finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Smoke (2000). She is also co-author, with Kim Addonizio, of The Poet's Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry (W.W. Norton,1997). Her fourth book of poems, Facts About the Moon, was published by W.W. Norton in fall of 2005.

Her work has been published in magazines such as Agni, The American Voice, Art/Life, Barrow Street, Best American Poetry, Best of the American Poetry Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, DoubleTake, Five Points, The Harvard Review, The Kenyon Review, Ms. Magazine, The New England Review, The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, Ploughshares, Poet Lore, Shenandoah, Solo, The Southeast Review, The Southern Review, The Washington Post, ZYZZYVA and Diverse Publications: The International Journal of Erotica. She is listed in the Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Poetry and her poems have been translated into French, Italian, Korean, Romanian and Brazilian Portuguese. She was invited to read at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. in 2001 by Poet Laureate Stanley Kunitz.

Among her awards are a Pushcart Prize for poetry, two fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Laux is an Associate Professor and works in the University of Oregon’s Creative Writing Program. She lives in Eugene, Oregon with her husband, poet Joseph Millar, and her daughter Tristem.
Bio courtesy of Blue Flower Arts
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Li-Young Lee’s father, personal physician to Mao Zedong while in China, moved his family to Indonesia and helped to found Gamaliel University. In 1959, after spending nineteen months as a political prisoner in President Sukarno's jails, Lee's father fled Indonesia with his family to escape anti-Chinese sentiment. Between 1959 and 1964 the Lee family travelled through Hong Kong and Japan before settling in the United States.

Lee has attended the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Arizona, and the State University of New York at Brockport. He has also taught at Northwestern University and the University of Iowa. Lee has written several poetry collections including Book of My Nights (2001), The City in Which I Love You (1990, Lamont Poetry Selection of the Academy of American Poets for 1990), and Rose (1986, New York University's 1986 Delmore Schwartz Memorial Poetry Award ). His memoir, The Winged Seed: A Remembrance (1995), received an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. Lee's poems have also been published in three Pushcart Prize: Best of Small Presses and "1900~2000 Gay Writers Coalition" anthologies.

His honors include a Lannan Literary Award, a Whiting Writer's Award, grants from the Illinois Arts Council, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship. Lee currently resides with his wife, Donna, in Chicago, Illinois.
Bio courtesy of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Born in Kansas City, Missouri, James Tate is the author of Return to the City of White Donkeys (2004); Memoir of the Hawk (2002); Shroud of the Gnome (1998); Worshipful Company of Fletchers (1995), which won the National Book Award; Selected Poems (1991), which won the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the William Carlos Williams Award; Distance from Loved Ones (1990); Reckoner (1986); Constant Defender (1983); Riven Doggeries (1979); Viper Jazz (1976); Absences(1972); Hints to Pilgrims (1971); The Oblivion Ha-Ha (1970); and The Lost Pilot (1967), selected for the Yale Series of Younger Poets.

He has published two books of prose, Dreams of a Robot Dancing Bee (2001) and The Route as Briefed (1999). His awards include a National Institute of Arts and Letters Award, the Wallace Stevens Award, a Pulitzer Prize in poetry, a National Book Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He is currently a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets.

He has taught poetry at the University of California at Berkeley, Columbia University, and Emerson College. He currently teaches at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he has worked since 1971. He is a member of the poetry faculty at the MFA Program for Poets & Writers, along with Dara Wier and Peter Gizzi.
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